Funeral Mass was held Oct. 25 at Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel at Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula for Dr. Ronald P. McArthur, 89, founding president, who died Oct. 17.Born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, McArthur served in the Army, but did not see combat during WWII. After his tour of service, he entered St. Mary’s College, Moraga, with plans to become a lawyer. These plans changed, however, when at St. Mary’s he read Plato’s “Apology,” an account of Socrates’ unsuccessful but moving defense of himself against charges of treason and sedition. He said it changed his mind because he realized that ideas were important.McArthur graduated from St. Mary’s with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1949, and received his doctorate in philosophy in 1952 from Laval University in Quebec. Returning to the Bay Area, he served as an associate professor of philosophy at the San Francisco College for Women until 1958. For the next 13 years, he was a professor of philosophy at St. Mary’s College and later a tutor in its Integrated Liberal Arts program. While at St. Mary’s, McArthur formed several close relationships with other philosophy teachers: Mark Berquist, Jack Neumayr, Frank Ellis and Dick George. In addition, he served as faculty advisor to a student organization of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute from 1961-63, whose representative, Peter DeLuca, had been a student of McArthur’s.These six, plus another colleague — U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Bill Lawton, Jr., whom McArthur met while teaching — were to become the nucleus of Thomas Aquinas College. A year after collaborating on the publication of “A Proposal for the Fulfillment of Catholic Liberal Education,” the founding document of Thomas Aquinas College, McArthur was named the college’s first president in 1970.He recruited supporters, faculty members and students, and taught courses all across the curriculum from freshman through senior year. Thomas Aquinas College grew in size and reputation, and, in 1991, after more than 20 years of devoted service to the college, he retired. In 1996, he gave the commencement address at the college and was awarded its highest honor, the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion.In 2007, he returned to the college and its classrooms as a tutor and continued his research and writing, lecturing and leading seminars around the country. He also edited “The Aquinas Review,” a scholarly publication of Thomas Aquinas College, continuing in this capacity until falling ill in 2011 and retiring from teaching prior to the start of the 2012-13 academic year. “We thank God for blessing us with this good, holy man, who was our mentor, our colleague, our teacher and our friend,” said Dr. Michael McLean, president of Thomas Aquinas College. “Already, we can see quite clearly the world of good Dr. McArthur achieved in his short time on this earth.”